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Texas 50, Epa 15, Osha 14, Mr. Caldwell 11, Mr. Wulf 10, West Texas 10, Dhs 8, U.s. 7, Mr. Scott 6, Mr. Dippel 6, America 6, Mr. Wolf 4, Mr. Moulton 4, Collins 4, Texas Ag 3, Murray 3, United States 3, Idaho 3, Indiana 3, Washington 3,
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  CSPAN    Capital News Today    News/Business. News.  

    August 1, 2013
    11:00 - 2:00am EDT  

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plan information would be shared with local first responders. has that information sharing occurred in west texas, some of the death and damage could have been mitigated. today for it to work, and facilities have to pay attention to the federal register. it is probably not too difficult. facilities that maintain the national associations, like the ones we will hear from later today, also have access to this information. it is unaffiliated with outliers that dot our nation's landscape of concern. many of these facilities operate in areas where the responders are volunteers do not have the access to specialized training
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that are necessary to respond to the explosions. i am troubled by the prospect of thousands or maybe tens of thousands of these facilities operated under the radar screen in there used to be a sense of urgency on this issue at all levels. it is essential between osha and dhs and the coast guard and state regulators and there has to be enough information available to identify those facilities that could pose a risk. that information needs to be shared. the next challenge is to ensure that dhs analyzes the facilities that provide information and gao
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has told us that when it comes to assessing and assigning risk, arguably the most essential aspect of the program is neither reliable or consistent. to that point the blue rhino facility exploded scented fireballs into the night sky and it was not determined by dhs to be high risk. but i believe with a lot of work and smart people in this program, we can do better. that is why we have called on the president to bring together experts to tackle the fundamental issues and i was pleased to see that the president established an interagency working group to collaborate on improving information and safety and
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security. >> i want to thank the ranking member for the full committee for his opening statement and for being here this hearing. i think it does is further underscored by the presence of the committee chairmen. the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul. i would like to recognize the full committee chairman for any statement that he would like to make. >> thank you for willingness hearing on the tragedy that occurred in my home state of texas. it is not just a level concern, but it is a local concern as
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well as this demonstrates, the harm to individual communities resulted in a chemis demonstrate harm to individual communities resulted in a chemical incident that does became part of this that could be devastating. fifty people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured. schools were leveled. and nursing homes were destroyed and homes were lost and neighborhoods and the cost of the physical damage alone is estimated to be nearly $100 million. whether it was an industrial accident or if they'll play, it wreaks havoc at the local level. and chemical facilities are not run with the utmost care and are a liability to everyone. over the years they have been
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vandalized repeatedly and ammonia smell so potent that it burns people's eyes. the facility was routinely left open after hours. the fertilizer was literally a disaster waiting to happen. as formidable as this facility is known to be, dhs had no idea even existed. the plant's owner failed to introduce himself. thus remaining unidentified and unknown. what is even more disturbing is thatknown. what is even more disturbing is that this is just one of similar situations across the country that dhs has no knowledge of. on may 2 chairmen sent a letter to secretary napolitano asking
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to stay off the rail and what the department is doing to improve the outrage. the department's response was insufficient. the reply reiterated the current efforts. say nothing about what dhs have learned. i was encouraged to receive a call last night talking about chemical safety. this is a step in the right direction and i look forward to the results of this executive order. while these indicate potential progress if they materialize, they will not be alone to give them what they need. in july we wrote to secretary napolitano joined by fred upton and today we stressed the failure of the program. including the identification of covert facilities.
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the ultimately want this to succeed in order for them to be viable. dhs needs to include chemical and the structure and identifying those that need to be secured. i look forward to hearing from the director as to how he intends to work smarter and not just harder to right his ship. it is imperative to our communities of this problem is solved. with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your direct concern and presents a mess. we have had numerous conversations with this with the original letter. it is one that we represent, and the numerous times that you spoke about your very genuine personal interests and i am pleased to havebeen able to
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have this hearing and have you participate to the extent. >> we also have some other responsibilities prior to this if she chooses, she can jump into what i would do is be happy to introduce our witnesses. i will ask for your opening statement in the conclusion of the opening statements, at the conclusion i will recognize the ranking member and enable her to make your opening statements and we will move into the questions. so, i would identify for the other committee members that the opening statements may be submitted for the record and we are pleased to have two distinguished panels of
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witnesses before us today on this important topic. we will introduce the first panel and the rest of you for your testimony. the first is mr. david wolf, the director of the compliance division within the national protect them until protections and the department of homeland security. in the essence is the personal person who oversees this and we are grateful for your presence here today. as a director, he helps the national efforts to implement the security planning and assess high-risk chemical facilities as well as assisting dhs and creating regulations for ammonium nitrate products. mr. stephen caldwell is the director of the government accountability office of homeland security and justice team. it is nice to see you again.
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it's been a busy week. we had the chance to share this with the work that mr. caldwell has done on one of the other issues that we were dealing with. it has been related to protecting critical infrastructure and promoting resiliency. he recently raised concerns about the risk assessment process in terrorist risk to the 3500 chemical facilities under this program. so i thank you both for being here. >> all right, okay. the full written statements will appear in the record. i recognize you now for the five minutes to testify. mr. wolf, thank you for being here and i turn to you first.
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>> thank you, chairman. chairman mccall, ranking member thompson and distinguished members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to appear before you today. my team and our colleagues across the department are absolutely committed to preventing incidents and our hearts go out to the heroic first responders and the people of the west community as they recover. although it doesn't appear that this incident was the result of a terrorist act, we have been working with our agency partners to find solutions to present in turn prevent these disasters in the future. we have made significant strides over the past year. we have developed policy
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training programs to make sure that we can conduct this in a thorough fashion. we have streamlined the security review process which has enhanced our ability to grant final approval for security plans. we have authorized 589 security plans and granted approval for 182 of those. reviews on authorizations are now underway as well. i am very proud of the pace at which our staff is operating. i do recognize that we must continue to find ways to become more efficient and effective in our inspection and review processes and we're looking closely at options to streamline this cycle for facilities and are soliciting stakeholder input and i do anticipate that this will be an important tool to enhance our with
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this who have been considering this for about member companies and i expect that you'll hear from our industry stakeholders that they have seen process and improvements and remain committed on a path forward so that this continues to improve and engagement with and the street is absolutely critical to this end we have conducted extensive outreach resulting in submission of more than 44,000 screens. chemical security is something we feel strongly about. we know this is key to implement the program. enhancing security is not something a single company industry can even do by itself. i am very grateful to our stakeholders for the hard work they have put into fostering security. and our engagements, we have all
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agreed that we must work together to prevent future incidents. you're doing the part to promote safety facilities and recently associations such as the fertilizer institute and agricultural retailers association has played a critical role in our outreach efforts and facilitating this to the executives. first responders are also a critical part of the chemical safety nationwide and it is absolutely essential that we continue to engage with them through this program. our past efforts include sharing lists of facilities with local responders as well as disseminating outreach material targeted at members of the emergency response community and the program will continue to have facilities conduct their own outreach to responders.
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this includes the conduct of an external peer review. we expected to provide input on how we can enhance this model as appropriate and in a fashion that comports with the practical realities of implementing the program. we are also committed to meeting the challenge of identifying facilities that have not reported threshold quantities of chemicals of interest. from the early days of the program coming dhs recognizes that it will be a challenge to identify and find every facility with chemicals of interest. over the years we have undertaken and continue to support extensive outreach and industry engagement to ensure that these chemicals of interest comply with the submission requirements. we have committed to doubling down on these efforts and working with partners at the federal and state agencies to identify noncompliant
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facilities. it is also important to note that including chemical facility safety and security is a priority for this administration. that is why the president today signed an executive order to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities and reduce the risks of chemicals to workers and communities. directs federal agencies to improve coordination with state and local partners, including first responders to collaborate on innovative appropriations inspection and identification of high-risk facilities and also to modernize the regulations to improve chemical safety and security including the safe and secure storage of ammonium nitrate. this includes other federal departments and agencies following the tragic events in west texas. we will continue to be in the
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future as we focus on steps already underway to mitigate chemical risks. i would like to note that the department supports a permanent authorization for the program we believe it will provide the necessary stability to implement this and it will send a clear message to facilities that may be seeking to avoid reports that the program is here to stay. we are gratified to hear our industry stakeholders say the same is the department has turned the corner on the program as we implement it. we will continue to work stakeholders with stakeholders to get the job done at preventing terrorists from exploiting chemical facilities and we believe this is making the nation more secure by reducing the risk assocted with our nation's chemical infrastructure and along with our stakeholders, we are committed to it success.
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we thank you for the opportunity to be here today and we look forward to answering any questions that you may have. >> thank you, mr. wolf. the chair now recognizes mr. caldwell for his testimony. >> chairman, it is good to see you and we thank you. also to mr. clark and ms. thompson. thank you for inviting us to talk about chemical security and the issue of the outliers such as in west texas. some of the earlier work that we had done has been presented and we are talking about the issues related to this and the outliers. the 2013 report on april 5, just one week before the explosion in west texas. we have continued to monitor the situation, including some discussions about some of the steps they are taking and some
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which the gentleman has outlined. so this includes aspects that we do not follow closely in the program. this may be one of the key examples. in terms of the security plan reviews, we found that dhs had a backlog of unapproved plants as mentioned. they have no streamline the process and i think it will still take several years to finish the inspections of facilities that have been tiered so far. we found that the program had increased its effort for the outreach and much of it was focused and it will represent
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the larger chemical facilities. nevertheless, the program could be systematic and monitoring the effectiveness of some of that outreach. and now i would like to talk about how we contributed to the existence of the outlier issue that we are discussing here today. the regulatory regime in general is based on self reporting and we report the chemical holdings and these two dhs for the risk assessment. that is how it starts with the assessment for facilities. also related to this self reporting. it could be months or even years for dhs to actually inspect the facility to verify the information it has been reported. to the extent that dhs prioritizes spectrums for the
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highest risk of sites. these are not likely to be the kind of facilities such as those in west texas. the second point i'd like to make is the reliance that i just mentioned makes the outreach process even more important than the explosion in west texas indicates a need for outreach for the smaller associations to get to the smaller facilities and maybe even some direct outreach to said facilities. it may also indicate a need for more coordination and between dhs and other federal agencies as has been discussed here may be hope the other agencies and the outlier facilities that are off the grid in terms of his visibility. the initial risk assessment is basically based on consequences
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and very specifically on the number of casualties which we tend to speak about the more urban populations in the dense areas. so it is quite feasible that even this facility in west texas to report its chemical holdings and that if those quantities exceeded this reporting threshold, that the dhs would not necessarily have categorized it as a high-risk facility and we would not have had to go through the process of the assessment and security plans. so in closing, certainly the latebreaking news, such as the update on the executive order, providing positive steps for coordination and the expanding coordination about why her facilities. i'm happy to respond to any questions. >> i want to thank you, mr. caldwell. before we take a moment to
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engage with our panelists, i would like to recognize the ranking member for her opening statement. >> let me thank you for your indulgence this morning, mr. chairman. thank you for convening this very important hearing. there are many questions to be answered today and i want to thank the ranking member as well as the chairman for being here today. i've heard it described that two hours after a fertilizer distribution center exploded in texas on wednesday, april 17, much of the town 18 miles north of waco resembled a war zone. some people were missing and hundreds more were rushed off to area hospitals and homes were burned and others threatened to collapse. the texas department of public safety spokesman dlls offered
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this grim but accurate assessment of the devastation that many saw. it was massive just like a rock and the building in oklahoma city. disclosure destroyed an apartment complex in the nursing home but that within a few hundred yards near an almond tree school that was severely damaged and walls of roofs of homes and businesses within a half-mile of the plant were cracked and there were no federal setback guidelines and requirements to step back these hazardous substances from the populations such as schools and nursing homes in apartments and businesses based on worst-case scenario. i have been told that at least 800,000 people across the united states with your hundreds of sites that store large amounts of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate. hundreds of schools and hospitals and churches, as well as hundreds of thousands of
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households near these sites. at least 12 facilities at 10,000 or more people living within a mile. according to an analysis of hazardous chemicals maintained by 29 states. it had recently focused on the fact that facilities that should be reporting are not being contacted about the required in under the program we hope that this review process could have produced more tangible results and reducing vulnerabilities and consequences it seems to me that
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they are all intertwined. but the current rush to it include this may not be old confidence among the public. the tragic events we protect this the stored explosive chemicals and how we identify these types of facilities to begin with. will it help local emergency planning committees prepare for events like the one in west texas.
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responders and plant workers and local officials need to be better informed about local chemical safety and safety information in order to be prepared and we do know that wes fertilizer did possess ammonium nitrate and they did report it to the emergency response commission. this was done under the emergency planning community right to know act. in texas they maintain these two reports in an electronic format, which is important to remember. we have established a norm or a protocol that compares this top screen facility to the emergency planning with the community rights held electronically by each state.
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we hope we are looking for answers these questions at the core of today's hearing naturally produce other questions like what technology and the changes have enabled operated facilities that have submitted this. i have been told that they are apparently talking by the facilities which are considered less attractive and no longer of interest to dhs. ..
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the worst-case release or explosion. i would be interested to find out. federal, state, and local interagency planning and cooperation may be the key to finding solutions to prevent events like west texas from happening whatever the cause.
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dhs must step up to the plight of security and find ways to identify how liars and retool efforts to assess risk based vulnerability. other agencies like epa already have authorities under the clean air act to incorporate methods to reduce consequences and severe risk management plan, and i understand the white house chemical security interagency group is working on this issue. it will be helpful to find out what the executive order released this morning will actually do. i think you, mr. chairman, for holding this very critical hearing and look forward to the rest of this morning's testimony i would like to sub just mentioned, speaking on behalf of the members on this side of the aisle, we are extremely pleased orchical securitiest's executive has been issued. it is especially timely for this hearing. mr. thompson wrote to president
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soon after the tragedy fly. looking at improving chemical security. if such an effort is established it should include members with backgrounds and government information policies on hazardous chemicals. this is always also including members from labor, environmental community and environmental justice committees . we look forward to learning these details. mr. chairman, i also have a submission for the record and would like to ask unanimous consent to have several of these pieces submitted for the record. >> have been given a copy of the materials best to be submitted for the record. they have reviewed them. so ordered. >> i think you, mr. chairman. i think our panelists this morning and look forward to further conversation.
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>> i think their ranking member. once again, i think our panelists for your presence here today. i now recognize myself for five minutes of questioning. mr. wolf, allow me to begin with you and let's get to the heart of the issue that we are here today about, the elmira facilities. d. h. yes, i appreciate, we have concluded that this was not a terrorist attack. so we are not implicated specifically in this. but nobody would deny that there was the possibility that better activity on the part of collaboration and communication should have been able to have created enough recognition that some where we would have known about this facility and been able to take some kind of steps to have protected those firefighters. the report has come 30 tons of ammonium nitrate were there and
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yet dhs had no knowledge of the facility, had never even heard of west fertilizer before the tragic event. so how we get to this point, the tralee thousands of chemical facilities throughout the country that vhs is not aware of . >> you know, i don't think i am in a position to speculate as to the number of noncompliance facilities that are out there. but i can certainly tell you that we are absolutely committed to double in down on the outreach efforts. >> let me make sure that you don't believe i am pulling this number of the air. your -- it was the inspector's report from your own agency that estimated there are thousands out there. you are aware of that. >> the zero ig report. >> well, -- i will give it to
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you. the -- i will get it for you. ivory suit -- reviewed it myself. somebody estimated that there are thousands. >> certainly the tragedy underscores our need to ensure that we are doing all the weekend to reach the facilities that we have not yet been able to reach and that have not complied with their obligations to report their holdings of high risk chemicals of interest. so we have, over the course of the program done a significant amount of out of reach, actually upwards of 11,000 separate average engagements, complaints assistance visits, presentations , out reached a state and local agencies, including first responders, but
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we are looking at those efforts in ensuring that where there have been gaps we will be in a position to fill those gaps. that includes things like redoubling our efforts with state homeland security advisers and working with the state homeland security advisers to reach down to the level of state regulatory agencies so that where state regulatory agencies are aware of facilities that may not have come into our orbitz call we can compare their list against ours. i have worked personally in the last several weeks with the state fire marshal for the state taxes to ensure to get it that we have mutually exchanged lists of facilities that have ammonium nitrate in the state of texas. over the past three months my staff has worked directly with the offices of all 50 state homeland security of pfizer's.
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we are also working. there was mentioned earlier this morning that we had worked well with the national level trade association and that members of those associations, you know, have a heightened ability to be aware of their regulatory -- >> there is no doubt that there is a heightened ability. we have a series of agencies that will explore some of this with regard to and i know what the intentions are and will explore some of this. the epa, your partners in this who want to collaborate with you , associations and others, all of whom and different sets of responsibilities are actually collecting this information. yet it is not finding its way you. then you are not able somehow to communicate with these other groups. i hear what you are saying about
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what you would like to do, but we are five years into this program. we are close to half a billion dollars that have been given to your group to eventually see. in five years later we are beginning to hear about the fact that you may begin to do more in the way of conversations with other kinds of state partners. there was an effort that was undertaken with the epa, and it failed. and then you went back again and started another whole new way of comparing data. whelp, why wasn't that followed up on? will was the problem associated with that earlier effort to collaborate among the existing federal agencies? how can it be that complex issue ? we can follow a package in the mail by the minute if we send it with ups or even our own mail
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service. here we're moving huge sums of chemicals, and you're telling me you don't know where they are. people just don't get it. >> i think with regard to these earlier epa efforts it did not yield significant or useful results. this was in 2008-9, because of incompatibilities and the respective data bases, we have done on lot of work organizationally and now find ourselves in a better position to do that sort of -- >> tell me. i want to know today, what do you believe are going to be the time lines? what do you believe are going to be the metrics said that we can have some measurable on some
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performance with regard to this? if you are unprepared to give me that today, i will accept that, but i want to year from you very soon with predictions on those metrics. can you speak to them today? >> i can speak with regard to epa data. we have reinvigorated that effort in that already conducted the crosswalk between the two databases. with regard to -- >> what have you found? >> we have found that there are some facilities. i don't have the number with me on hand. found in the epa data base and that have not submitted talks screens to us. i think as well -- i don't want to speak on the behalf of the epa, but the facilities in our database i'm not in the epa data base. with regard to metrics, the metric off the top of my head would be the numbers of talks
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screens that we received from facilities. i do think it is important to note that over a course of the program as a result of the efforts we have undertaken to this point to get the word out, not to said there is no more to do because some of we are committed to doing all we can to get the word out. they have met their obligations to report the high risk chemical holdings. >> my time has expired. will talk a little bit more. as thank you. i now turn it to the ranking member for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. would you please describe how be a chess does or does not access to other relevant federal state and local government agency and interagency chemical and permission that is routinely gathered and that would have indicated threshold chemical
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interest in inventory act west texas? >> well, i talked of little bit about what we have been doing with epa recently having shared our respective are empty and databases of facilities. we are doing the same thing with our colleagues at the bureau about crop, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. we are working also with the states, state agencies. >> standard practice or is this in the the wake of what happened in less taxes? >> via certainly taken a look in the wake of what happened in west texas, but this sort of activity has happened now would say more episodic the over the history. >> it was not a normatocol? >> no. >> are you saying that you are now establishing a norm and a
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standard protocol? >> yes. >> with respect to epa, for instance, we have done this initial crosswalk. we are evaluating a time line for repeating it on a regular cycle. >> mr. caldwell, do you agree that this is an established a normal protocol? >> we have not looked at the program since the west texas thing, but i think obviously the president's executive order will put additional emphasis on this to kind of force the agencies to work together. i have not seen the executive order yet. summarized by mr. will. >> the basic sort of one on one mission which is to coordinate and collaborate with other agencies to keep the homeland safe. you know, we have got to come up to speed. the american people expect more of this agency, and i want to
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highlight that because they're constantly talking about information sharing. if we are -- you know, if we are not doing this is really flying in the face of the mission of this agency and impedes its growth, quite frankly. >> information sharing is a priority. our inspectors across the country have been plugged into their communities. we have about 120 inspectors across the country. it is a large country in region six, which includes the state of texas. we have 13 inspectors for a 5-state region that spans from mexico to arkansas. i can promise you that they have been doing their best to ensure that they are communicating with and sharing information with local authorities. >> and how long has this sort of staffing been the case?
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>> as long as i have been in place, which has been about two years. >> that raises a concern for me. please describe how oak ridge national lab which is involved in the assessment to developing gases, stores, and communicates interagency epa information acquires with isdb personnel and why this relevant information was our was not passed on to the isdb headquarters? >> we were, for isdb part, work with the oak ridge. they are the folks who sort of ron the database is against one another. so the data base is gone recently, for example, we received the list of facilities that are regulated under a day epa are in the program. we provided that. they get across what between our
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facilities and data base. the epa data base, and you know, i communicate back and forth with them. so they're under contract with the department for that purpose. >> and so if this is the nature of the relationship that you have to of why was this relevant information -- why wasn't it passed on? >> i don't believe i am familiar with an instance of information not having been passed on. >> and you feel like you are getting information in real time? >> i feel confident in our relationship with hope rage, certainly. >> mr. caldwell, the d.h. as office of inspector general reported that the ages has inspected only 47 of approximately 4,004 under facilities regulated. your office has audited similar data. can you give an estimate of how many chemical facilities that could likely contain seal lie
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above the threshold required and describe the plan the found in place to assess and contact a number of not repeating out liar facilities nationally. >> i think mr. wolfe in his statement provided that there us up-to-date information on the number of inspectors. it is 40 something inspections. the data shows something under 200. i don't remember the exact figure. so we did find the process for doing the inspection and also found that there were making it more streamlined and seem to be doing that. we have a mandate to look at that again once they start the compliance inspection which will be for several months. so we have not looked at the inspection data yet. in terms of your last question in terms of more out fliers, we have not done the work since the
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explosion in west texas. other than the discussion here we have no news information to have on that. >> thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. let me just follow up on that question. i understand the you have got -- i mean, that there is a sort of analysis, a full checklist to my review, complex undertaking. we are asking about a specific bit of information. why can't we get a baseline report on the presence and amount of chemicals at the facilities? sent to you later on you can go back and look at all the questions as to whether they are properly stored or otherwise protected, but just the idea of knowing what is where, the idea that we're going to wait a long
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time before we complete inspections at a place and therefore not know on the amount of ammonium nitrate and other highly dangerous chemicals that will allow us to have an understanding. >> there certainly is, and that is something the weekend did done and that we can make available and have made available through our online tool which is something that is available to state and local authorities. >> but you don't own now. we don't know where they all are this was the out wires that we keep talking about. the facilities. and literally the potentially thousands of our wires who were there. we don't know about them.
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we know about the facilities that have submitted the 44,000 touchscreens the received. we can produce that. and does the are able to bring more al wires into the fold if his -- the chair will ask unanimous consent that the gentleman from indiana and jim from taxes put her require -- without -- so ordered. the next to be recognized to questions. >> mr. chairman, ranking member, thank you for holding this important hearing today. a additionally i want to thank you on behalf of the community for including in your discussion regarding the disaster that occurred in a small texas town on april 17th. hopefully through this hearing we can learn from the incident and gain knowledge about similar
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facilities around the country in order to prevent future disasters of this nature. the community has been through so much. this incident took 12 lives including the tall first responders you see on the poster behind me. it injured hundreds and cost tens of millions of dollars in damage. the state of texas in the entire community have been working tirelessly to rebuild and recover. since that day the community has desperately been seeking federal assistance necessary to rebuild. provided important and much-needed resources and assistance. the community is in dire need for additional assistance to rebuild the community. in an effort to gain all the necessary public assistance the governor requested a major disaster declaration on may 16th requesting all essential categories of public assistance. on june 10th is by reaching the monetary required threshold of uninsured damage the men
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denied the request. following that denial governor right. on july the ninth appeal the president's decision to deny something that would have provided additional assistance. while the state of taxes, they continue to go by and people are still homeless without schools, basic infrastructure and with a struggling community. looking forward regarding the implications and lessons from the disaster it appears that the building blocks of the incident were due to the following. the west fertilizer company's failure to comply with existing regulations of malacca riverside and enforcement. it did not occur from a lack of regulations, it appears to be this is evidenced by the national pro rest director failing to fully implement a comprehensive ammonium nitrate security program even though this was not a terrorist act.
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chemical facility anti-terrorism standard program should exist in guest in the future exploitation the defense raised serious concerns the part of homeland security chemical security inspectors were unaware that it was handling tons of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate. furthermore, the chemical safety board reports that approximately 72 percent of the recommendations regarding the risk management of ammonium nitrate and other dangerous materials have been adopted. that, however, there's 48 percent of the recommendations that have not been adopted. this leads us to believe that the environmental protection agency can and should immediately strengthen safety facilities that handle dangerous chemicals by implementing and following their remaining guidelines set forth by this esp mr. chairman, as you can see, we have regulations. of the subject matter experts.
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the homeland security department, the epa, and related federal industries in private industry to adapt and act promptly to adopt safety measures that can save lives and prevent similar disasters. before congress or regulatory agencies consider new statue from the condition mature the ones we have been properly implemented and adjudicated. the ranking members on behalf of citizens and communities, thank you for having me year. i appreciate the committee's work to address the important issue on the table. i want to work hard to prevent future tragedies like this in the future. thank you, and i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman from texas for his statement and i recognize the gentleman for his questioning. >> thank you. how would like to thank the leaders of the committee and the subcommittee for burning the public attention to this
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tragedy. sometimes life goes on and refer it have significant and what kind of impact these kinds of accidents have and how they affect the people of the seven communities where they happen. i too wish to express my condolences to of the people of west texas and to the families of those who were killed and to those that were injured. i have a lot of questions arising from today's hearings. i hope that this subcommittee will continue to a delve into this very important matters of that we can insure that a tragedy like this never happens again. so given time limitations i think where i would like to start is by taking the sample of refinery in corpus christi.
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it is my understanding that from the federal regulatory standpoint the agencies that would have jurisdiction over safety issues at a refinery like that would be the epa, osha, are there any others? >> depending on the holdings at the refineries and the location of the refinery, it could be a facility if it is on the water. it could be regulated under the coast guard maritime transportation security program. >> that would be two separate agencies. >> it would be one of the other. >> for example, using the example i'm talking about which is a refinery which is basically on the water, then the three
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federal agencies that would have jurisdiction over safety issues would be osha, epa, and mesa. if we had a refinery that was not close to the water the agency that would have jurisdiction over such would be osha, epa, and see fat. >> i think that is accurate. >> would it be any other federal agencies out there in this world that would have jurisdiction? >> not that immediately pops into my head. >> and relating back to the incident at hand or facilities like this one in west texas, is it those same three agencies, for example, the west fertilizer plant epa was involved in the regulations at theest plant. some will there and i don't want to speak for other agencies.
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why. based on the parent chemical holdings at the facility the facility did not meet its obligation to report to d.h. as whether such a report of those holdings through will be called the top screen process would have altman that resulted in the issuance of a final tear reflecting that it was a facility at high risk of terrorist attack. that is what they do, prevent and foster security measures. it is unclear without more information about what holdings were in place before the explosion. but for it to come into the regulatory panel, it would have to have submitted that filing and been judged ultimately through the process to have been
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higher risk facility. >> so would a share have jurisdiction over a facility like this one in west texas? >> my understanding is that they would, but i am not an expert. >> let's assume we're talking about a refinery in central texas. they shared jurisdiction with epa. give us an idea of how your agency coordinate's with osha and epa to insure that incidents like this cannot occur? >> well we are doing with epa and we will also be looking to do with the osha is to share our respective databases so that if they're is a facility that is, you know, known to one of us but not the other we will be
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cognizant of that and insure that we can work with the facility to bring it into compliance with the appropriate regulatory framework. >> so if we had a list of every refinery in the country over which epa, osha, and the other have jurisdiction, would you be able to come and and give us an idea of what kind of interaction that the agency said concerning each of those facilities listed on such a list? >> i think that would be a possibility. and i would be remiss if i did not mention that the executive order issued today is designed to foster among other things the possibility of a shared database
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such as that. so one of the things the working group that has been chartered by the president's, the interagency working group will be looking at is the feasibility of developing just such a consolidated data base of chemical facilities. ..
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>> not at this point a consolidated national database of chemical facilities, and that's something we're going to look at doing, going forward. >> i think i've run out of time. >> i didn't want to interrupt the gentleman while he was on a roll. i yield back. >> okay. the chairman now recognizes the distinguished woman from indianapolis, miss brooks. >> thank you for allowing me to participate in the hearings. i sub the emergency preparedness response communication and that's what i would like to talk with you about, but this particular topic is of particular interest to me as this unfortunate disaster some of my constituents and their families, and one of the first responders who was -- the brother lives in my district, and having worked with the
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firefighting community and law enforcement community, i have a chance to submit a letter that has been provided from mr. white for the record. the brother-in-law. >> yes. so ordered. thank you, mr. chairman. mr. white points out in his letter that the first responders could have differed significantly if they had known exactly what was on that site. mr. white thinks a chemist, by the way -- thinks the first responders with the right information would have been evacuating rather than fighting the fire. as u.s. chemical safety board's noted, west volunteer firefighters were not made aware of the explosion hazard from the ammonium nitrate and were caught in harm's way when the blast occurred. we all know, and there's been
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far too many both natural and manmade disasters in this country, but we rely every day on the actions of our brave first responders to protect us, and they deserve to understand the potential harm and danger beyond the fire itself, before they run into a disaster like this, and to be trained properly how to protect themselves and our communities. and my question, mr. wolf, is in 1986, the emergency planning and community right to know act was created to happen communities plan for emergencies like this, involving hazardous materials. the act provided for emergency planning and a community's right to know, reporting on hazardous and toxic chemicals. according t epa, west, texas, was in compliance with the reporting requirement, but my question is, did dhs have
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access to this extra information on west, and if so, how was it used? >> i'm not aware that we had access to it, but going forward, among the things we're certainly looking at as we talked with said agencies and state homeland security advisers, is ensuring that information is shared back and forth between the department, our facility information, and information held by state agencies. >> what is your plan to make sure you're accessing this information in communities across the country? >> well, to the extent that the information is held at the state level and i guess in this instance it was held by the state emergency response commission -- we'll work with the state homeland security advisers to ensure that the information is flowing to us,
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and similarly, that information we hold about facilities that have high, risk chemicals flows to the states and localities. so we have been engaging in discussions, and sharing information with state agencies, and certainly intend to double down on those efforts going forward. >> was there actually an unwillingness to share that information or a lack of knowledge and the need to leverage that kind of information before this incident? why does this seem to be a new step for dhs? >> there certainly wasn't unwillingness, and outreach, getting the word out about the act and the reporting requirements of facilities in the chemical sector, was a high priority of the department.
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there have been finite resources, and we have had competing priorities, the need, for instance to work with facilities that have submitted tox screens, have come into the program to develop their security vulnerability assessment and their site security plan and to conduct inspections. over the course of the program we have conducted over 11,000 outreach engagements, including with state and local communities. so i think we have been doing that sort of sharing on a regional, localized basis, but we are certainly committed to ensuring we have national protocols in place to make sure that happens. >> i have one further question if i might. i was the u.s. attorney when the department of homeland security was set up, and so i'm familiar with the positions and we caulk about a lack of resources.
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what are the positions within dhs that actually are responsible for this in-state? there is a dhs position in jurisdictions that is responsible for this outreach to the -- whether it's those in the chemical community or others? what is the title of that position? >> well, within the program, we have regional commanders and district commanders who are responsible on the chemical side, but more broadly, my broader organization, the office of infrastructure protection manages the protective security adviser program, and those protective security advisers are the ones who do the more broad-based outreach and liaison with folks at the state level, and look at nationally critical infrastructure. advirs homeland security have? >> approximately 100, but i would have to get back to you with the exact number. >> okay, thank you.
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i yield back. thank you. >> i thank the gentle lady. i'm going to ask a couple of followup questions myself because we have the panelists before us. there's a couple of issues i would like to further explore. one of them goes to the concept of outreach. let me say, mr. wulf, i do appreciate that there is a big undertaking, and you quote the number of 44,000 screens and other kinds of things. i think there had been some significant accomplishment in the form of beginning recognition, particularly by many in the industry, about the desire to try to regulate -- not regulate -- to identify and oversee the presence of these
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chemicals, the dangerous chemicals, and, quite frankly, i think you would we the first to admit you have a lot of great cooperation from many of the folks in the industry, and they're looking for more followup, having already taken great steps, made great investments. they're looking for the kind of timely followup on the efforts you have already undertaken with these top screens. i'm a little concerned by testimony mr. caldwell presented in his written testimony -- and if i'm correct, mr. caldwell, you're talking about estimates just to continue to do some of these oversights, of anywhere from seven to nine more years before' even completed with this process. seven to nine more years. can we wait nine more years for
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this kind of identification of critical information? >> i would note at the outset that seven to nine years in my view and the view of the department is not an acceptable time frame for getting through the vast site security plans we have on hand, and we're committed to ensuring that the pace of those authorizations, inspections, and approvals, continues to pick up, and i'm happy to say that, although there is more to do, we have turned a corner and have begun to make progress. at this time last year we had yet to grant final private to our first site security plan. we're now coming up on 200 final approvals. we had authorized the mid-range steps -- >> okay, so we're -- you're talking about 200 and you have literally thousands to do.
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>> yep. >> so it's a great undertaking-but 200 out of the thousand, i begin to question sometime weather publish weather the process is well-conceived and if you can recognize that the end is so difficult to realize in a reasonable period of time. you can imagine how a business, who is cooperated with you, and is waiting for years for a followup, can be tremendously frustrated. now, let me talk because today's thing is about the outliars. i'm talking about those who are compliant in working with you. when we use the word outliers, the concern i have is the suggestion that somehow these are people who are looking to dodge the system or get away, and i think the truth of the matter, and sort of crystallized to me in testimony from a variety of other people, and one of them came from a small farmer, and basically he said
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the truth of the matter is we want to be compliant, but we're overwhelmed with responsibilities, first in just managing the facility, often times the person who is responsible for all the compliance is also the person who is responsible for running the operation at the facility. we don't have time to take a day off, to go to a meeting at the local agricultural association. in fact, most probably aren't even members of the agriculture association. so your outreach through the association is good but it's just touching the core but we're missing a whole number of people. they don't have the time and they're confused. they're confused, as was stated. the individual in west, texas, thought he was in compliance. what he was in compliance with was a state requirement. they have osha stopping in. they have the epa that may stop
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in they have you who may stop in they got state facilities who may stop in. some will tell you, it becomes overwhelming. so don't we have a responsibility to coordinate just a little bit better and have a single point of contact for these kinds of things, particularly with regard to the very specific question about how much we have and the form of certain chemicals on your property? >> i think you're right, that we do. and we're committed to doing just that. the executive order that the president has signed incorporates a pilot through which we are going to work with our interagency partners, epa, osha, atf to look at doing joint outreach, to look a at -- >> my time is expiring and i want to ask mr. caldwell one specific question. i get it. i know you're working-but the
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bottom line is, there's a lot of information already out there. osha is already correcting it. epa is collecting it. state facilities are collecting this very information. we seem to be trying to remaining the wheel. i had a friend who would say, ask me what time it is and they'll tell me how to build a watch. why can't we do the simple process about asking about the presence of these chemicals, finding out who has them, tracking the them cals through -- chemicals through the system and making sure people are reporting. >> that's exactly what we're doing with epa, atf and osha. >> mr. caldwell. you looked at something in your report called the moe systemic response outreach or systemic plan? >> that's correct.>> can.
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>> can you explain what you mean? >> there was a lot of outreach going on. the program was maintaining statistics but what they weren't maintaining was the quality of results of the feedback, or the outreach. and so we made a recommendation that when they're doing this outreach, they also look to see whether -- look for measures of effectiveness. and the department has agreed with that recommendation and is -- >> so work doesn't necessarily mean productivity. >> measuring the results of the outreach. >> how do you recommend they change that effort into productivity? >> we did not come up with specific ways but just kind of thinking outloud here, could be either surveys back to the people part of the outreach, or as part of the outreach, having them respond to whether this is useful to them or not.
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if it's not, making an adjustment should it would be useful. >> it does seem to me there's an awful lot of opportunity for us to work with colleagues trying to work with you. not trying to hide this stuff. they're trying to accommodate with you and they're asking for your assistance in doing it. it's a big challenge. we got to get it right. i now turn it over to the ranking member for her followup questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to follow up with a few questions. mr. wulf, i understand the department has sent letters to facilities in recent weeks asking that information be submitted for tox screen, risk analysis by september 9th. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent for a company of the letter to be submitted into the record. given that the committee received at least, to my knowledge, no notification of this effort, how many of these letters were sent out and what
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is the universal facilities that receive these letters? does got to facilities that have already been tiered or facilities that have been previously tiered? could you just enlighten us about these letters? >> those letters, the bulk of them, came out of our effort to do the crosswalks with epa's database and to identify facilities that were in the epa database but that may not haven in our database. may not have filed tox screens. there was an effort to bring into the fold noncompliance facilities. >> basically do a reconciliation. >> that's right. and another small segment of that were letters sent out to facilities in texas that we had received through our mutual sharing with the state of texas. we also sent some letters out to state level agricultural
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executives in an effort -- with the help of the fertilizer retail association to reach down to that level and fill that gap. >> once you received your feedback after september 9th, would you reach back to the committee and give us a sense of what the feedback has been in that reconciliation? just to give us a sense of whether we have far more work to do in this regard or we're pretty -- just a few out there. >> absolutely. >> that's going to be important. mr. caldwell, given dhs' approach for deciding whether a facility is high risk, would the west, texas facility, had it reported to the dhs, been considered high risk and thereby covered by the rule? if not, why not. and based on the committee's research it appears that different states have different rules gotching the handling,
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storage, and transfer of various chemicals, including ammonium nitrate. does dhs work with the states to compile information about the facilities that may have certain chemicals covered by the rule to determine if the facilities may or may not have reported holdings to dhs? >> let me make one first comment. i quoted a figure for you in terms of the number of inspections they have done since you quoted the figures from the id and mr. wulfs station. 358 inspections. also like to point out if you look at the percentage of the inspections for the chair -- tier win, it's quite a bit high sore they're concentrating on the highest risk facilities. i'd like to say in my opening statement it is quite possible the west facility would not have been considered, again, because when they look at whether to --
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when they tier a facility the most important factor is the consequences so figures like population. i'll throw a question out there for maybe mr. wulf to answer. what we're not sure about is whether, when they're doing the calculation of consequences and they look at the potential casualties, do they use a overall figure, like the population density of that area or do they look at something more tactical, there is a school, a nursing home, something like that in the near facility, and that's a question i don't quite know. that would get to the heart of what the potential casualties might be. you might have some rural areas where the population density is quite low but the school happens to be near a facility so during school hours you could have quite a population there that would be put at risk, depending
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on the vicinity. thank you. >> so that is proximity that you're talking about. >> correct. and mr. wulf can maybe address whether they do that level of that's -- that level of analysis or not. and then the outreach was focused on industry, and they were looking at the really big facilities out there, how do you reach them quickly? it's through the national associations and it wasn't going through necessarily the state route, although, as mr. wulf says, they do have the protective security advisers at the state level, working with the state government, but every state is organized a little differently so could be regulated differently in some case, neighborhood would regulate this under the department of agriculture or something like that, others, the environmental agency or could be under public safety agency. >> i just wanted to get your take on this fact.
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proximity to rail. you have chemicals being railed in, as in the case of west, texas. wouldn't that be sort of a flag that should be part of the calculation of the threat to a particular environment? >> the regulations are pretty specific to a facility. as mr. wulf pointed out, several facilities reported they moved some chemicals offsite, and quite possible they're just not storing as much on site because they're in railroad cares somewhere else. there was an explosion in canada within the last month, and i don't know what that chemical was, but actually chemicals on rail cars can present a threat, and so how handled is important. again, it's a complex issue. i think the transportation security agency actually has the authority over this security of
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those things in transit. >> thank you. i know the gentle lady asked for unanimous consent to enter a letter into the record. without objection, so ordered. the chair now recognizes mr. flores. >> thank you. director wulf and mr. caldwell, thank you for joining us. director wulf, you recently told the global news wire that the act is our shared responsibility. you further noted, quote, facilities that are in the business of dealing with high risk chemicals have an obligation to do that reporting just as i have an obligation to file our taxes with the irs. the irs doesn't necessarily come out and look for us, unquote. and you said most stakeholders would agree that enhancing security and building resilience across the chemical sector is not something a single agency or single company or industry or even government can do by itself.
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just -- i agree what if you said. that said, how do you envision dhs's role among all the players involved in this effort, and to what extent do you believe that dhs should take the lead in this effort? >> i think with chemical, with respect to chemical facilities, security, dhs does have an obligation to lead in this area, and we're committed to doing just that. we are part of a broader picture on an interagency basis, and i think that is reflected in the president's executive order signed today, but with respect to chemical facility security, we're committed to doing all we can to get the word out, but as i said, it is a shared responsibility. businesses have an obligation to know their regulatory responsibility. we'll continue to do all we and can redouble our efforts to ensure that we got the word out there as broadly as possible, including to folks at the state
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and local levels, to include first responders. we're absolutely committed to doing that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have no further questions. >> thank you. the chair now recognizes mr. -- do you have any followup questions? [inaudible] >> i wish we had a -- [inaudible] -- >> in such a fashion that -- accusatory fashion. just going forward, i know we have a lot of work to do in regard to this issue to make sure we figure out how -- what the federal government could have done, if anything to prevent this accident, and just
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as importantly to make sure that in the future, we prevent any further tragedies like that. and that was the purpose of the question. >> absolutely. >> i thank the gentlemen the chair now recognizes miss brooks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a bit of a followup on my previous question regarding the resources, mr. wulf, you have dedicated this you. testified the dhs representatives have participated in your written testimony, in more than 6200 meet with state, federal, and local officials and held more than 4600 introductory meetings with owners and operators and potentially regulated facilities. those are impressive statistics, yet how is it possible and maybe i it is because of your resource issues -- that still so many state and local authorities and so many small facilities say have the never heard from the department about the rule?
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what is it that is needed in order for you to touch and make sure that our state and local authorities and the smaller facilities become familiar with what these obligations are? >> i think that what is important to do and what we have been doing is to start to do more targeted, more systemic outreach, and to ensure that we're funneling through folks like the state homeland security advisers, through state emergency response commissions, and sort of strategically ensuring that the message gets out at the state and local level. that also includes working through industry groups at the state level, and we can work with our stakeholders at the national association level as well to ensure we get that done. so, we are committed to getting
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the job done. the resources are what they are. we have certainly a lot on our plate but we have very hard-working, committed folks on the team who get up every day looking to ensure that we safeguard our high-risk chemical facilities from terrorist attacks. we will continue to keep at it, and on the outreach front, to work strategically to get the word out even more broadly. >> having worked with the one person i'm familiar with in indiana and that's all i believe indiana had -- at least when i was u.s. attorney -- has there been any discussion about rielle -- rielle -- re-allocations, to make sure, especially post west incident, to try to expedite the efforts
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of outreach? >> we have not had extensive discussions in that respect. i do think that at we get into a cycle of compliance inspection activity, which is actually going to begin in september, we're going to be begin conducting the first compliance inspection office facilities that received their final site plan security programs, and we have to look at the resources, and we also look at trying to ensure we keep up the pace of our strategic and targeted outreach. i would say another thing, if i could add, that would be helpful to ensuring that facilities understand that the program is here to stay, would be for congress to permanently authorize the program. that would go a long way to helping us get that word out to
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facilities that -- and also to provide an important measure of stability to our industry stakeholders, who, as they consider looking to make significant investments in security measures and to argue for budget dollars in a constrained environment, even on the private sector side, can speak to their companies about the importance of the program and the need to comply with its regulatory framework. >> thank you for that suggestion. i want to just thank the men and women who do that work out around the country. it's been received very favorfully. just aren't enough of them. thank you. >> i thank the gentle lady and i thank this panel for your presence here today, and mr. wulf, i know you have the big job to do. i've asked you to look at the specific issue with regard to the outliers, and give us some
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metrics and some timelines with regard to how you need to do it and i also know the-of the reauthorization of this program will soon be front and center, and it's a -- we want to support you in these efforts. that's our objective, to work with you, not against you, but we have to ask some tough questions and an awful lot of the times performance is going to be the biggest part of the equation, and you would be, i'm sure, the first to admit that the performance to this point, albeit a great challenge, has raised a lot of fodder for questions, and we have put a lot of money into this. and we've got be able to start to demonstrate the ability to narrow, so that the effort is matched with productivity, as i said at the outset.
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i thank you there may be some committee members who will ask further questions with written questions, and if they are submitted, we ask that you do your best to be timely in your response to them. i thank you for your presence here today. i. >> thank you. >> so, i dismiss the first panel, and the members of the subcommittee will now take a moment while we invite our second panel to join us. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> the chair is very grateful for the presence of our panel. i thank you for taking the time to sit through the first line of questioning, and one of the opportunities and advantages, although i'm sure you may have wanted to ask some questions yourself, you may be able to make comment with regard to some of the issues that were discussed, and i invite you to do that. but allow me to take a moment to introduce each of you. we are joined by mr. donnie dippel, the president of the texas agricultural industries association.
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previously mr. dippel served in the texas department of agriculture from 1988 to 2002. and ending in 2002 with assistant commissioner for pesticide programs. before joining the texas department of agriculture oar dippel worked as manager and commercial pesticide plate -- an mix indicator for a spartan service. mr. paul derig is the manager for the j.r. simplot company. and works with compliance in the company and represents j.r. simplet in trade associations organizations and activities. mr. timothy scott is the chief security officer and corporate director of emergency services and security for the dow chemical company. and a member of dow's corporate crisis management team. mr. scott currently serves on the advisory board of the
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international center for chemical safety and security and is a member of the g-8 global partnership working group on them cal security. previously mr. scott served on the executive committee of the chemical sector coordinating council for the department of homeland security. and lastly, we're joined by mr. sean moulton, the director of open policy program, for a group which aim dozen promote government accountability and openness. mr. moulton served for several years as a research fellow and contract employee at the united states environmental protection agency. i want to thank all of you for being here. your full mint statement -- written statements will appear in the record and i ask you to do your best to contain your testimony to the five minutes. and we look forward to engaging you in questions. the chair now recognizes
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mr. dippel for five minutes. >> my names donnie dippel, president of texas ag industries association. subcommittee chairman mahan, ranking subcommittee member clark, and thank you for letting us testify at this meeting. before i given my time i'd like to extent my thoughts and prayers to the fellow texasns who experienced should great loss as a result of the west, texas, explosion. texas ag industries association membership is comprised of manufacturers, distributors, retailer dealers and allied companies involved in the sale of federal lieder, chemicals and related services. our mission statement is to advocate, influence, educate, and provide self-s to support members in the quest to foster a sustainable business environment while being productive stewards of agriculture. tai has always worked with the industry members and nonmembers to help them in their compliance
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issues. the ag mart institute is a not-for-profit resource center that do provides services and monitors enforcement. as statedder 'er i served as president of cai since 2003, prior to coming to texas ag industries i worked with the texas department offing a curl, serving as the assistant commissioner for pesticide programs. prior to that i managed a retail business similar to the west, texas facility. i currently serve on the texas feed and fertilizer control advisory committee. they hold a minimum of five education programs a year to help our industry be apprised of current practices and concerns in crop protection, laws, regulations, and environmental issues. it has always been a concern that we do not have more participation at our educational
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meetings. after surveying the deeper memberships to find out ways to improve participation we found that many retail dealers cannot leave their business to attend the meeting without closing the doors for the entire day. small dealers do not have employees to operate the business if they're not there. this is also a problem with regulatory compliance issues. small retail dealers may have one or two individuals trying to run a business and regulatory issues may not be their main concern each day in operating their facilities, nor are the always aware of the extensive list of regulations that pertain to their business. in contrast, distributors and manufacturers have employees whose only job is to ensure they're in compliance with laws and regulation and best practices are implemented. after the fire and explosion at west, texas, fertilizer, our office was overwhelmed with calls, first from the press,
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wants us to speck laid on the tragedy, and then calls from the manager of the west fertilizer company. heed a tremendous difficulty even talking about what happened. he most likely knew every one of the individuals who perished in the explosion. on one of the calls he expressed his concern that the news was saying that west fertilizer company was not registered with the u.s. department of homeland security. he told me, i have a certificate hanging on my office wall that says we were registered to handle ammonium nitrate. i asked him if he was sure if they completed the agreement with dhs. he said he had inspectors that came to the plant to check the security of ammonium nitrate and check the sales records and i realized he was referring to the texas feed and fertilizer control service. they have approximately 546 retail dealers in the state of
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texas and 129 are registered to handle ammonium nitrate. texas law provides a state -- chemist and they have records of every sale. once homeland security finalized the pending program they should know where every facility selling ammonium nitrate is located because this requires anyone to register with them. after the tragedy at west fertilizer company, tia mailed out a letter to every fertilizer retail dealer in the state to make sure they're in compliance with all the regulations pertaining to regulations. we were able to offer retail deal tails to the assessment tool. the compliance assistant tool
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helps dealers identify specific activities in their business and a summary of their regulatory requirements and offers suggested best management practices. also made a compliance assessment tool available to retail dealers across the u.s., through our national association, for larger institute and agricultural retailers association. after sending the letter we received many calls from retail dealers which led to us discover the confusion between registering with dls and the texas feed and fertilizer service was very prevalent. the first question i asked was, do you handle ammonium nitrate? if so, are you registered with dhs? we have work. with several detailers to help them register with dhs. i have several more requests on my desk. one of the big problems we have run into is the requirement they must have a secure e-mail address. many of the retail dealers use e-mail addresses such as hot
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mel, gmail, go dad and y -- go daddy and others not considered secure. and the retail dealers also have to be able to identify the longitude and latitude location of their business. the top screen registration offers a program to help find the locations but many time the cord -- coordinates are not correct and not accepted by the program. many retail dealers' computer skills are very limited and they have become very frustrated ask have asked to quit or have to quit the registration process to set up a new e-mail process or find out why the program is not taking their coordinates. even though ammonium nitrate is in east texas and very little is used west of the state, the area is too big to allow my travel to help each one of these individual retail dealers with problems registering. the situation i have outlined i do not believe are unique to
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texas. there are many, many small retail dealers like west fertilizer company throughout the u.s. one suggestion i have is dhs work with local inspectors, the state fertilizer control officials, feed and fertilizer control uss and through state associations to come up with a process to help these small facilities. some of the rile dealers have chosen to use the compliance services. many will use their insurance company and some will try to do it on their own. whatever they chaos,d choose, we'll help them comply with their regulatory requirements. again, i thank you for the invitation to testify at this hearing. i'll be glad to answer your questions. >> thank you, mr. dippel. mr. derig you're now recognized for your testimony. >> thank you chairman, thank you member a clark and distinguished members of the subcommittee, my name is paul derig, and i'm here to testify on behalf of the
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agricultural retailers association. ara is a trade association which represents agricultural retailers and distributors of crop, equipment, and services. on behalf of ara, our members and myself, i also want to express heartfelt condolences and prayers for the people of west, after this tragic incident they have had to endure. ara members are throughout all 50 states and range in size from small, family-held businesses, to farmer-owned co-ops and larger companies with owners of retailer outlet. i happen to be the manager for the very diversified agricultural company, and we operate approximately 100 farm
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retail distribution centers throughout our network. during the time that i've been in the retail business, which covers the span of 35 years, i've played a dual role, also as a public responder so i understand what is happening with those families and the loss they've had for the firefighters they had injured. i've also spent a large amount of time, because when epa's program came out, i saw the tie between the hazardous materials i worked with on a day-to-day basis in the retail business, and what epa was trying to do under title 3. so, i played a dual role for over ten years, also being on a regional hazardous materials response anymore the state of
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oregon. so, playing those dual roles, i think it's important because thing a retail sector plays an important role in feeding the world. our public responders play an important role in protecting those people. we provide essential crop input, like seed, fertilizer, and with that, we face a complex problem. a multi facetted issue that involves not only the retailers, not only the regulators, but a number of other areas within our communities. prior to april 17th, the area board of directors initiated the largest undertaking in their history. the establishment of an ammonia
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code of practice. it helps dealers and retail world understand the storage and handling of that product. we have also expanded that now to include ammonium nitrate. ammonium nitrate was not originally considered because, as an industry, we have had initiatives along those lines in the past with storage and handling. the result of this initiative, we call responsible ag. a member-led performance management system that will establish foundational eh and s practices, at our above compliance with third-party independent audit programs and we ask for agency collaboration in communication within this effort. for ara members, many handle products on the chemicals of interest list under dhs,
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including high profile products like ameanum nitrate and anhydrous ammonia, and also regulated under a number of other regulatory agencies. ara members that have filed with -- under the chemicals -- the program, for the most part fall out of the tiering process. those that are tiered, are tiered in the lower tiers, three and four, in the regulated community. the department of homeland security's current leadership has made great strides but there is more work to be done. we recommend the following: target unidentified chemical facilities through intergovernmental and industry cooperation. check partnership model.
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raise partnership outreach within industry and re-assess the small facility compliance. the west facility was required to comply with many regulations. compliance with osha's hazardous communication standards, dots transportation of hazardous materials security program, as well as the department of homeland security, and as well as standards that cover handling and storage of ammonium nitrate. some of those could have prevent this incident. i don't believe that -- we don't believe that dhs alone would have prevent what happened. for example, ans stored in a warehouse close to seed. the osha standard forbids this. urges department of homeland security to issue a aknownum
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nitrate registration program that documents sales of the product without unduly burdening the farms' access. the ara testified before the committee for the rule which became law in 2007 but nearly six years later still no rule. congress should consider the letter to advise dhs, advising them to take the following immediate steps. first, dhs should enter interest a cooperative agreement with state departments of agriculture or other agencies agencies to pm inspections and outreach. the agricultural community is familiar with the program where they need to be los angelesed and obtain a per -- licensed and have a per notice happen certain products products and the effect it will have on food production. including -- according to dhs
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west was unidentified in their database, however other federal and state agencies were aware of the facility. >> in the interests of time, may ski you -- are you close to conclusion? >> yes, we think it's point for collaboration and communication to be able to enhance compliance and use the industry initiatives we spoke about. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. scott. >> chairman, mahan, ranking member clarks, i'm tim scott, chief security officer for the dow chemical company and i'm speaking today on behalf of dow and the when chemistry council. we all mourn the loss of life suffered in west, texas. while the exact cause of the explosion may never be known the path to this disaster is clear. noncompliance with established regulations, lack of regulatory oversight no community awareness
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of the risk no training for local first responderes no warning system no security. this disaster might have been avoided or at least the impact minimized if any one of those steps had been corrected. there are regulations under place at both the state and ferrell levels that require the submission of data relative to chemicals chemicals of interest on site. compliance will have identified this facility as a potentially high risk site. clearly the facility owner and state and federal regulatory agencies failed in their responsibilities. more regulations are not the answer. but, rather, communication, understanding, compliance, and enforcement of the established regulations already in place. wall dhs has had many issues with the implementation, they're making progress in identifying and inspecting and securing the sites. the the facility in west texas flew above the radar and we can't have sites operating outside the regulation for any
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reason. we support a multiyear reauthorization to continue this process. noncomplying outlier sites pose a risk to the communities which they operate and that is most important. but they also pose a risk to the chemical industry. bit outlier sites i mean those facilities that may produce, mix, store, or distribute chemical related products but not part of the established chemical industry, members of chemical related industry associatings or participants in the local emergency planning committees. they're not the chemical industry to which dow and the acc belong but their action, or lack of action, casts a shadow over our industry acc and dow has been pro-active in calling for chemical security legislation for almost a decade now in order to bring everyone, including these outlier sites into the process.
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dhs and the chemical industry are working together on common goals and fining solutions that address the concerns of bother partners have proven these partnerships can work. this public/private partnership concept initiated by dhs here in the u.s., along with the responsible care code, have made their way around the world and are seasoned and promote bid the international council of chemical associations and the international center for chemical safety and security in their efforts to develop a chemical safety and security culture in developing nations. the dhs concept of public-private partnership is a leading and recognized standard around the world in addition to the regulations under place, there are many established programs and partnerships that can address the issues around the west, texas disaster. at dow we implement the responsible care code at all sites around the world. this includes the security code, and also the community awareness and emergency response initiative in the communities near facilities.
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and community along the transportation routes and these include advisory panels, training and awareness for emergency respondses, integrated community or emergency response plans and systems and awareness for the general public, schools, hospitals, and what we call nearby neighbors. we participate in local emergency planning commitees, or lepcs, created in the mid-1980s and still viable today. these lepcs include members of the immediatearch special interest groups, local government, emergency responders and industry these local partnerships where are the rubber middle easts the road. if- -- where the rubber meets the road. we must identify similar risk across the nation and enforce the regulations under place. we must brick outliar sites into the process.
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we must build robust and all inclusive public-private partnerships for chemical safety and security at the local community, state, and federal levels. we must implement initiatives like care and transcair at the local level to be sure the communities and responders are aware of potential hazards and capable of responding to emergencies. we must constantly strive to do better at identifying, communicating, regulating, mitigating and responding to the risk. acc and dow will continue be industry leaders in this effort. >> thank you, mr. scott. and the chair now recognizes mr. moulton. >> chairman, ranking member, members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify today on the chemical facility anti-terrorism standards, cfas. i want to also a ifer my deep condolences to the west, texas, community and the families that
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lost loved ones. i'm the director of hope government policy at the center for effective government, an independent nonpartisan policy association. i wish to make four points. first, excess receive secrecy and information restrictions contribute to gaps, oversights, and inefficient sunday in chemical security effortness the cfac program specifically. cfas was unaware of the west fertilizer plant and its storage of amean ammonium nitrate. state emergency officials knew about in the ammonium nye tritt through hardous chemical inventer to reports busts didn't know the facility was miss from cfas. much of the needed information was reported but not reported to everyone and the information that was reported wasn't
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sufficiently shared. these breakdowns reveal disturbing loopholes in the regulatory system and fundamental problem with the way we manage chemical security and safety information. we have adopted an overly secretive approach to this information, which slows sharing and impedes risk mitigation. this need to no approach also promotes culturals of secrecy and isolation in agencies which lead to information gaps such as unreported facilities. this raises my second point. better collaboration among federal agencies and state authorities is needed to address these gaps. the most effective way for agencies to share information and avoid bureaucratic, tech nick at that time and -- technical barriers to narrow the information and make it income data format. need to no access tools suching a requiring special log-ins and
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requesting approval for access impedes sharing and limits cross-agency collaboration and should only be used for the most sensitive information. if a list of facilities was public, perhaps an official in texas where a plant employee would have noticed that west fertilizer was not on the list. third, gain imaging and inform -- engaging and performing the public is essential. citizensings first responds, plant workers, and local officials, all need to be better informed to prepare for chemical emergencies. basic information such as facility locations, identity and quantity of chemicals, are vital for communities to identify and prepare for chemical risks. on the other hand excessive secrecy could cost lives in a chemical emergency. the tragedy at west fertilizer may be an example of this. emergency guidelines for large ammonium nitrate fires recommend
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evacuation and trying to contain the fire from a distance. however, the west firefighters, apparently unaware of the ammonium nitrate, may not have billion able to properly judge the situation and adopt these tactics. furthermore, greater public access to information can help reduce or eliminate risk. adopting safer chemicals and processes can remove dangerous substances state patrol communitieses and -- from community better protect meshes. preliminary findings that west fertilizer ammonium nitrate could have been mixed we calcium carbonnite to preserve its use as a fertilizer, communities and agencies need more complete information on current chemical storage to be advocate for safer alternatives. finally, increased transparency for cfas can improve effectiveness lity. when programs operate behind closed doors with little public oversight they often suffer from
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delays and wasted resources and management problems. the gao found significant management problems in the program. we need transparency to know if efforts are work l. cfas should publish data obscurity plans certified, inspectors trained and inspections completed. citizens understandably want and deserve more than a "trust us" approach. in conclusion, to be successful, cfas and other chemical safety programs programs should rein in secrecy, partner with other agencies, strike a better national public disclosure, and engage in communities as participants in upholding chemical safety and security. the checktive order released today is a welcome step towards closing regulatory gaps under the main agencies overseeing chemical facilities, but
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congressional action may be needed to achieve these reforms in a timely way. chairman and members of the subcommittee, i look forward to your question. >> thank you, mr. moulton. i'd like to thank each panel member, not only for your supression appearance here but i know you have all professionally been committed to work in this important area, and i thank you for sharing your expertise with us here today. so i now recognize myself for five minutes of questions. mr. dippel, you -- i had actually used your testimony when i asked some of the previous questions because to me it reflected so well the sense of the independent operator, not trying to be an outlier but a tremendous sense of frustration, and you used the words, confusion. can you tell me -- you've been experienced in this area. what are we missing in terms of the ability to reach out to the kind of operator that you
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have -- i think you called them dealers, but -- so what's missing, what can we do better? >> i think it's just the cooperation with our state agencies -- texas has an ammonium nitrate law. one of the six states with a law which requires that the product be secured, and you cannot ship to a retailer before they have a plan in place with the ecological control service. so all they have to do is contact feed and federal fertilizer control service and they would -- >> has that ever happened? >> not to my knowledge. >> a big part of the failure for the connection to be made to the state and local level where there's already oversight and information contained. >> yes, sir. they protect ammoniu nitrate very securely in texas, and we -- every sale has to be registered and you have to have identification of the person buying it.
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it's very similar to the law. >> mr. derig, you had discussed this idea that may tie into is. i think when i was going through your testimony, this concept of third-party identification or third-party participation. it speaks to the issue of, we have a lot of resources but seems to me people are either not asking for those who have some expertise and capacity here in this area to participate with dhs, or theirs some other kind of impediment to information, sharing, even with agencies that have the same information. so, can you explain to me what you mean by this sort of third-party verifier program and how that might operate? >> yes. that's the initiative under responsible ag that ara and tfi are partnering on, and what that does is -- as mr. dippel stated,
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there is confusion out there. there's a lot of rules, a lot of agencies that apply to the retail business. and what we want to do is consolidate those rules into what we might consider to be a management plan or a system for the ag retailers to get involved in, know where they need to be for compliance, for the products they handle, and then have a third party audit for certified to come through periodically, whether it's actually or every other year, and do an audit of that management system to ensure that compliance is taking -- >> so would you include in that -- you're down in texas. >> i'm actually in -- we have facilities in texas. >> you're in idaho. we are talking about texas but suppose you have a facility in idaho and texas. is it your idea you would consolidate the federal requirements and state and local
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requirements so that the -- your agency would sort of help somebody in idaho and in texas? >> that is correct. we actually one of the working groups right now, presently as we speak, is working on what we call the common codes of practice. and so they would be working specifically with state rules as they tie to the federal rule, so an ag retailer no matter what state they're in, would be audited under their state rules and how to they overlap with the federal rules. >> okay. the idea being that even if something may beatle bit -- may be a little bet different in a different state, you would still have the capacity to try to consolidate these and that would be part of the audit processes? >> that would be correct. >> be cure use -- you have had communications with dhs on this
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snows. >> we have spoken to them, and as this process goes along, we certainly want their cooperation. we want to partner with them as well as the other agencies that have regulatory authority. to get their input, and recognize the system as industry's approach to product stewardship and ensuring our industry is strong and vital into the future. >> thank you. mr. scott, you have talk a little bit about the concept maybe a little bit different approach but the concept is the same, the public-private partnership if i'm correct in your testimony, and certainly have a tremendous amount of experience looking at this from the perspective of large company to be sure, but your chemicals are going down to local dealers and i know you have a great deal of interest in assuring the security of those all the way through the process. tell me what your process --
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explain further what you mean by this public-private partnership and how it can be realized to reach the outliers. >> it's worked for us at the federal level, state level and local level, and when dhs was first launched, we worked very closely to sit down and really work on a common issue of securing the chemical industry and what makes sense and how can it be beneficial and not overly burden some for either side. and we worked through a lot of details in a collaborative effort that made the process at least a workable process to move forward and start to make in progress, and we have started to see progress. there's been a lot of down sides on the dhs implementation but they're fixing those right now. at the local level, i think that's where you can really make the progress. if you look at the west, texas
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incident. this was a local issue that had a national impact, and if you look at the local emergency planning committees that have been in place for 20-plus years now, in every county in the united states, you can go to the local -- should be able to find a emergency planning committee that involves the community -- they know the community. they're living there they know the people, they know the industries and it's an information sharing process that the community and the companies that are there, the chemical companies, have to share information. you have to show them information, what you have on the site, and you have to have integrated emergency plans so that people know what to do. if there is an emergency, how will they know? what should they do? how should they react? and it's a very collaborative process so at the state and local levels it works very well and we have halved very good
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relationships with things -- >> in your awareness is that kind of local emergency coordinating group ever been reached by dhs with regard to their cooperation or collaboration on this issue? >> in some states i would sayey. it's typically the states where we are active, and you bring the two together to come out. in other states i don't know, but that's the easiest route for the state dhs folks that we talked about earlier, that mr. wulf talked about, can reach out to the local community and we part of that. they should be part of that. the local sheriffs and fire departments and dhs and tceq in texas, environmental groups, and the media, and the public, are all members of those lepcs.yime. let me turn it now to the ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i thank our panelists for
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bringing your observations to bear here. i want to pick up a bit on what you just stated, mr. scott, and actually pose a question of mr. dippel. it's interesting that texas has a law regulating ammonium nitrate, but it doesn't concern you, mr. dippel, that west, texas, had a wooden storage facility under -- is that part of texas state law? >> no, it's not. and probably 95% of the facilities in texas are wood. their bins are made of wood. so that's not uncommon in the state of texas. >> and as a result of this, has there been new guidance put out about storage, or is it too much of a financial burden or smaller firms to look at changing that?
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>> it is a big financial burden. i have met with the fire marshal and we have discussed this, and it's something they are recommending possibly that they change the facilities. but, again, the -- i think there's bigger concerns than just your walls and your -- the locations of the facilities similar to west. and there again, west was a facility that was brought in about 1963, and all these things were built up around it. so there's a zoning problem, and a lot of these small cities that bring on these problems. >> very well. let me turn to you, mr. moulton. you testified today and written extensively on the issue that engaging and informing the public is essential as programs are becoming an integral part of the broader government effort to protect communities from chemical facility risks, and i
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agree. would you expand on the concept that culture of excessive secrecy and limited information sharing has contributed to the gap, oversights and inefficiencies in the chemical security effort in general, and specifically in the cfas program? >> sure. i think there are a number of barriers that impede sharing of information between agencies, and cfas program specifically. there are regulatory barriers, cfas program, when it established its information category that them cal terror -- chemical terrorism, treated the information almost as classified. it was a very broad definition of the information, and so understandably that creates a regulatory restriction on what you can do with the information very easily.
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there's a bureaucratic barrier. this need to no approach means people have to ask to get access and wait for approval and wait for log-ins, and it depends on the fact that whoever at the other end, whether it's dhs, deciding whether or not to share their information, or epa deciding whether or not to share their information, it depends on that agency making the right determination of this person deserves access and at what level? and we don't always get those decisions right. there are cultural barriers, as i said. agencies -- interagency cooperation that long been a difficult issue and when it comes to areas where security gets involved, and security concerns are raised, it becomes even more difficult for agencies to release information and share it more freely, and finally, would say there's a technical barrier.
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these agencies have their own information and their own systems. those systems don't often talk to each other very well. we heard mr. wulf this morning talk about when the first tried to access data at epa, it was hard to get the system to work with their system right and get the information they needed from it. and again, if we leave these systems separate, and closed, you're going to run into throws technical barriers more often. if we open them up and release more information to the public, it removes all of these barriers. the agencies can use it and citizens, fir responders as well. ...
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>> day pay part of pushing for legislation is to get
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every bit beyond the same page so one industry is not doing what they were all the other industry is doing something else it is say clarity for chemical security we are still not there yet. we have the legislation but we have to get everybody around the table is. >> have those bills ben filed? >> we have been working every time there is a piece of legislation with chemical security we were involved with the whole discussion. >> i am asking are there in the current proposals that you would be asking us to take a look at as a move forward? >>. >> we would like to get authorization of teeeight just for go if we spent
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about $250 million on security upgrade for dow chemical alone in when the economy gets tougher it is harder to get that many and with the uncertainty of next year it is a to dash difficult to sustain the program internally. >> you mentioned there is a difference of the regulatory action if you compared the the role these agencies might play at the dow chemical plant verses fertilizer? what can you tell me about that? what is the difference? >> there isn't except size. we are regulated by a d.h. us and that epa and by the
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coast guard in the epa so we have jurisdictional issues at most of the site said the
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>> what insurance liability or what would require it dow chemical's for example, to have certain liability limits?
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>> i don't know of any regulations. in order to be approved for the safety act 38 yes in our site security program into a station security program the designated and to the safety act with d.h. us so that is also designated under the safety act and there is the liability requirement with the safety act application. >> you know, what that is are the limits? >> no. >> the safety act? >> only those applying for that designation is different we also apply for the safety act recognition through d.h. us is the acronym for something in that and know what it is but
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there is the requirement. >> you may not know the answer but are there any federal regulations that would require the fertilizer plant to have a certain level of insurance? >> item no the answer. >> i will yield back. >> i just have a quick follow-up question i was intrigued by your observation to speak for the common man dealing with this with the local dealer being asked to have to create a secure communications capacity on computers but to your knowledge was that limited just to go back and forth with the compliance issues with the chemicals? >> i'm not sure but you have
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got to understand any small facility that i got a call the of their day i told the lady i was coming to help for a couple of weeks and that nature they have a secure e-mail address as in cheese and rigo have e-mail. then i got another call and then stayed up lighted hour-and-a-half waiting for someone to answer the phone. things like that get these people frustrated if it needs to be made simple
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chemicals are pages and pages and pages. is very complicated to make people come into compliance. >> mr. moulton you have been an advocate in and openness with this process. i will ask you to comments but i need to know dhs to figure had on in make yourself a member why the necessity of certain kinds of security? i assume we don't want to tip our hand with the location of these drugs could be used by drug dealers rekeying with amphetamines are a target of any of their kind of person to use that fertilizer for an act of criminal act so is
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that not unreasonable for the secrecy? >> no i don't think it is unreasonable and we should not just throw the doors open when but we do waste energy and resources protecting secrets that are not truly secret the names and locations are not secret. that is just the reality they report to a lot of other systems epa, osha and a lot of other ways to find them so trying to hide that or even to what your we only hide the program is selfish of flooded is accomplishing. we need to be specific of
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the critical pieces of information to the duty security. this is the basic information to help first responders to better understand these facilities to prepare for chemical emergencies. then need for this and other hurdle because his trading almost on par with classified information again makes these programs more difficult for those that want to comply to do so. >> you cannot have given a better closing argument why a program gets in its own way in terms of the objectives that needs to be realized in i mentioned that
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tremendous frustration with five years in to a program in by the very testimony of the inspector general they would get another seven years just to finish this part of the process but yet for your articulation of the simple already contained in many places and should not be private. so thank you for the common man prospective we do get the frustration they feel i don't want to constantly beat up the dhs but sometimes what you set up to do to design that appropriately so that you accomplish what you need to accomplish without creating 1 million other things that get in the way to move us
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far down the path. i thank you for your testimony here today and particularly for your of a tough issue because of the complexity but people have paid a price where information they have been sufficient to enable them to continue with they do that not be the casualties of what to i know them to be with the continuing effort to get this right. i think my panel for their work on this so you may get some follow-up questions from members of the panel in the asset you've be as responsive as you can in a timely manner. without objection the stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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>> you never really know what to do led is particularly true that on the one hand they are expected to have a cause imagine a first lady to there without a cause but then they're not permitted to intrude upon the law making all of the official capacity. so to see how each of these women walk tells you a lot about them in the
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institution a and society.
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>> a couple years now, i would hope those people in the house refer to the constitution which says no money shall be drawn from the treasury with the appropriations made by law. it is hard to find a more basic duty for congress to pass appropriations bills and we have to start the process. the senate in the house need that. we need to work something out we chose a dissertation bill because it is a matter of which broad bipartisan support with six republican senators and zero democratic senators. it is hard to find a matter
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that is more basic with more in agreement to have safe highways and unsafe bridges we have 70,000 that don't meet the standards. 70,000. not 7,000. as senator murray has said those bridges are not democratic republican bridges. there our bridges. what has happened as he speak is terribly disappointing. g.o.p. rogers is the chairman of the house appropriations committee.
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the house has made a choice sequestration in he said it is unrealistic and ill-conceived it must be brought to an end to. that is what he said. finally someone speaking out within the republican caucus in the house with how dysfunctional they are. we had a few breakthroughs in the seven of which i am very grateful. there are a number of senators who are trying to do the right thing. so chairman bernanke appointed by republican president respectfully and with great recognition with the job he has done coming
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he has said as late as this week that sequestration is hurting our economy by at least one percentage point how much more do they need to hear? the republican leader is down on the floor weighing against regular order which he called for. senator collins of nothing else was shown no respect of how hard did she work with patty murray? get this done. i cannot understand why the republican leadership would twist arms with the bipartisan bill to create jobs all over america.
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>> if what happened just now the senate republicans chose gridlock over jobs and chose obstruction over economic growth in a political gains over common-sense investment. the day after the house republican transportation housing bill imploded to prove that sequestration cannot pass the republican house leadership threw a tantrum and said it is my way or the highway in their highway has a lot of problems. the senate transportation bill is about creating jobs, investing in families and communities to lay down a strong probation for long-term care broadbased economic growth. it is a bipartisan bill i worked very closely with senator collins to right it
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six republicans voted for it in committee we had an open debate on the floor and had boats in the accepted amendments from both sides of the ideal. i am extremely disappointed and diving grave that republican leadership fought back against members of their own party to force a filibuster in i think a lot of people across the country watching this and they are disgusted. people like ron who is here with us today in depends on the investments with his jobs in those madam he be out of work but the qvc work said will pay the price as well and without these investments trains, airports will continue to decline, our most ball double seniors and families
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will be less secure to end up homeless in the economy will suffer now and into the long term that is what the senate republicans have voted for when they filibuster today those of us who supported the bill will go home to talk to our constituents how we are fighting for jobs and the republicans to filibuster this will have to go home to explain why they prefer partisanship and obstruction. i hope it will convince republicans to come back to the table to joyous and a budget conference help us to replace the damaged genes sequestration that is what the country expects and what we should fight for.
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>>. >> this has been a sad 48 hours for the american people. this shows exactly why washington is not working with the unemployment rate not improving public safety on highways or bridges and also with the housing for the disabled. today with the united states senate the other party was not going to vote for allowing it to is rotation housing bill to move forward.
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what does that mean in plain english? the city will not go for it because we don't agree with the overall budget appropriation which they voted for this spring in the overwhelming votes. they say they want a new topline but then in the budget committee the top line comes to the budget committee. the subcommittee by subcommittee. but then with the budget committee to get the topline. as the chairman of the
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appropriations committee i willing to go onto a compromise but i want to do in the regular way. i marked that my allocation of what the senate agreed to in the overwhelming vote this spring. where does that leave us? it says senator mikulski the matter how hard you work obol sides of the aisle we will not approve the appropriations. but we have the gridlock but with the higher jobless rate in not meeting the needs of public safety senator murray
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and senator collins from the transportation housing sector but muller many with inadequate infrastructure with capital improvement programs and investment of the new e equipment in order to improve public safety to put people to work in the construction. 51% of the jobs are created by investing in infrastructure particularly in the construction industry will hear from those who worked there and we had a bill that would put people to work with bridges and highways to improve public safety and would have gotten
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america moving and working and we should do the same but with the whole of the budget committee let's try to get america out. >> was a difficult task sandy behind us is men and women in the building trades industry they want a paycheck and they want to rebuild america that is all they are asking for. it is not unreasonable the
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jobs of fair treatment for working families and a vision for the growing economy and what you just saw on the floor of the senate is the effort by the republicans to kill the dream. a job killing strategy. wettest sharp contrast susan collins stood up with the real profile in courage looking for to say it is time to come together on a bipartisan basis to create jobs. fifth i was waiting to see what would happen next. then mitch mcconnell the republican leader came out he was looking over his shoulder fat landfall the libertarian the most extreme conservative of the republican party he wasn't looking for review was looking over his shoulder to see where john boehner was standing in he was looking to see we're the tea party was standing.
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one profile in courage looking forward to lead the country in the rest was back into the shadows. is a reality and something has to change the only way changes the way the american people speak of to say we are sick and tired playing games in washington with working families and this is a sad day. thank you for your leadership if this means the republicans will not let us pass one appropriation bill, shave on them to get them to agree on a spending bill to move america forward we have the defense appropriations bill but i just guarantee they will see it in their lives in the futures of military families across america to see it in
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the national defense it is time to stop looking over their shoulder. >> thank you for your leadership on the spending issues. for decades democrats and them to say it isn't the federal government to fund infrastructure that the economy depends on. both parties stepped up to provide funding for roads in bridges in provide economic development and it is never a partisan issue but all that comes to a screeching halt this week as republicans abandon their responsibility to work in a bipartisan way to create jobs and improve infrastructure. the hard right conservatives and the house cut so steeped the moderate republican
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colleague could not go along. hear this said that we had six republican supporting this bill. 19 voting to bring it on the floor. and then mitch mcconnell they were all arm twisted into bettino against what they believed in. it is sad that senator mcconnell was in a position he feels he has to whip against the bill like this so there is of war going on in the republican party and for once someone to find common ground in compromise while others want to stop every single government program. it is my way or the highway they say. today it is there way. funding for highways. at times working with the of their side deals like the middle east peace process
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there is no one to negotiate with. and what we have seen in both houses is the republican party on fiscal issues is falling apart before our very eyes they cannot pass a fundamental bills because the hard right is so far off the deep end the republicans cannot go along. it is amazing moment. the hard right conservatives won the day of this bill with hundreds of those sins of the americas sector have a big gm said good paying jobs lost out. and republican party continues to tie itself up with fiscal issues that are so far over that the american people will not go along with them and many in their party will not go along with them or are forced to.
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>> someone who really knows firsthand with the investment means that we try to pass today with workers and families, we have an iron worker that has been with 32 years' work son jobs and virginia and maryland and district of columbia he knows what this means and he wants to say a few words to all of you. >> i appreciate it. i am not a speaker but the have any notes or a scriptir generation ironworker with the mideast establishments
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every day with my family. and the frustration is beyond any understanding of any coming grand -- common ground we have bridges falling down around us. the numbers are astounding. when that bridge collapsed in minnesotminnesot a it hit home but it is public safety but i have been working in this town for a long time for the piers of mine in midlife of health care
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losing possessions i do notice that the american civil engineers it is not a cave reid hit a half -- read the cover ground -- we need common ground but it is affecting people like me in our life. we need to be heard is getting old leave the hell did we need to be heard now not in 10 years but it is
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time now and i appreciate you hearing us. thank you very much for. >> want to speak on tax reform how far will democrats take that could expect. >> we will have to have significant revenue period i support the finance committee what they are trying to do but my message to everyone is tax reform that has to create significant revenue. >> max baucus said you raise the most revenue. >> when it is all over and done with submit the revenue.
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senator murray's number in the budget committee that remains to be seen. significant revenue civic they cannot get together to pass appropriations bill. >> must the republican party becomes functional once again, colleagues have a record repast 27 bills the lowest in the history of this country. 27 bills. now they say that is no indication that that is how many you delete. zero. 27 n / o. by any calculation the tea party driven people they're
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hurting the country. they're not interested if the democrat or republican does something they have jobs they want. good jobs if i look at nevada the construction industry -- industry is really hurting the economy is picking up with a little bit of help with the republicans here in congress to have a dynamic congress like in the clinton years to create 23 million jobs the we are here's looking get out with nothing. they are incapable of acting even like senator collins you tries to be fair. they did not even give her the dignity of recognizing
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the work she has done. >> what about the government that has shut down? >> we have some better boasting about wanting to close the government so maybe if you close a few parts that don't matter that much but i told them we will tell you what happens when you close government but i don't know what more the republicans could do to tarnish their brand that they're doing here in washington. >> sova 18 republicans voted for the floo what indication do you have that they will not be armed to
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get that 60 boats? >> time will tell but may be speaking out against this foolishness is like the british parliament they cannot even get what they want done. we cannot pass this simple appropriation bill. >> on the floor at the 967 double? we but we're not negotiating the president said he will not negotiate. that is what these guys are talking about a one negotiation on the debt ceiling and there will be nine. thank you.
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[inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. will be briefer them that a group that was before you we had significance two years
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ago that we had the president signing the bill we committed to the american people we would reduce spending over the next 10 years by 2.$1 trillion. there is no question that had cloture been invoked with this particular appropriation bill even more the with the president asked for the story line would have been in congress on a bipartisan basis walks away from the budget control act. but now we have a debt the size of our economy that makes this looks like trees there is much less to be done to get the financial house in order the by signaling to the american people that you're not serious about what you agree to do on the bipartisan basis but our other friends have spent the entire year trying to get us to walk
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away with the spending reductions that we submitted on a bipartisan basis on -- a couple years ago it is clear unless you tax-and-spend it'll have much interest we believe to get the federal government house in order financially is the single most important thing we could do the single biggest threat to the next generation and the one coming after representative. it is symbolic to have the inevitable discussion how to fund the government. we will take some questions then going to a bipartisan lunch over in the caucus building believe better not. >> looking at that campaign primary challenge how you respond? >> with your own two-party challenge that is helping to
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drive your decisions your? >> the reason for the vote by the way all the republicans that voted the way as suggested was because we need to indicate we will keep our word around here this is the word made on a bipartisan basis just two years ago the president signed it, it is the law in rethink it is important we take our commitments seriously. . .